Ahhh semester 6. The last semester of my 2nd year. Summer time and the learnin is…….HARD.
This semester we had the pleasure of taking Neuro III, which essentially in our school is Pediatrics. Then on the other end of the spectrum, we also took Geriatrics. Plus to add in some super fun stuff…..Advanced Methodologies in Clinical Research or something like that….basically Statistics.
I personally happen to love math, and I love statistics, and I love clinical research, because I’m cool.
But I’m not gonna lie to you, statistics was hard. Peds was hard. This semester was hard. But good. Just like PT school 🙂
My favorite thing about this class was our professors. The lecture was mostly taught by one professor, while the lab we had a whole team of em. They are all awesome and extremely passionate about peds, which naturally transfers over to us. I can’t say that I love or even like peds, but they did, which is good enough for me.
The first things we learned were the pediatric milestones from birth to about 5 years of age, mainly focusing on each month from birth to one year of age. The development that occurs at this time is amazing!! It’s so rapid and so specific. You have to know when they cross midline, when they discover their feet, when they hold their head up, when they start to roll. Of course, these vary baby to baby.
Once we have an understanding of normal milestones, we can identify when a baby is developing atypically. Then we can start to discover why this might be.
We studied torticollis, biomechanical things like leg length discrepancy and hip antetorsion and anteversion, brachial plexus injury, hypertonia and its related disorders, hypotonia and its related disorders, DCD, autism, pediatric respiratory therapy, and all kinds of tests and measures for development and disorders and so so many are the things!
Neuro III Lab
As I said above, we had a team of professors for this class and I loved all of them! Plus they brought in a bunch of guest speakers on various topics like orthopedics and wheelchairs. We love a guest speaker!
The first day we worked on transitions, just like a baby would do. We became little babies who practiced rolling, sitting up, burping up. This is PT school and you are a baby.
It was actually really useful to practice going from sitting on the floor to standing. What are all of the little motions that are involved in this? What ROM would you need to have? What muscles groups are involved? What muscle groups, if compromised, would make it very difficult to do this?
My favorite day of this class was when our team of professors brought in even more professors! They had different stations where they taught us a number of important tests and measurements for children, including
- Measuring medial and lateral rotation of the hip
- Measuring hamstring length
- Measuring hip extension
- Measuring thigh/foot angle
- Measuring axial tibio-fibular rotation
- Measuring the angle of the transmalleolar axis
- Measuring dorsiflexion and plantarflexion ROM
- Ryder’s Test
Guess which test this is?? Trick question, it could be two tests! Thigh/foot angle ORRR axial tib/fib rotation
This class was taught by one of my favorite professors. She’s been teaching at FIU a long time and she is just so creative and caring with all of her students. She set up really cool demonstrations to try to emulate some of the conditions experienced by a geriatric population.
One day we had a number of different stations where we had to practice getting someone off the floor, doing the 4 square test, comparing walking speeds with a cane vs a walker, using gloves while trying to accomplish ADLs, and more.
The thing I liked the most from that day was the various glasses she had to imitate things like macular degeneration, homonymous hemianopsia, and glaucoma. We put on these glasses and attempted to do ADLs.
I have kermit the frog eyes.
The curriculum of geriatrics was somewhat of a review of our various other classes that we took: incorporating cardiopulm, neuro, MSK, clinical skills, pharm, and patho all in one class, but geared more towards how those relate specifically to a geriatric population.
So, we did a few taping designs, but we did them to improve thoracic kyphosis. Oh! We also measured thoracic kyphosis with a flexicurve.
In terms of academic curriculum, here are some of the things we studied:
- Orthotics commonly used in a geriatric population
- Urinary incontinence and strategies to deal with it
- Review of functional tests like Reach Tests, Berg Balance Scales, TUG, Tinetti, 6-Minute Walk, Fullerton
- Neurological conditions that affect an older population, like stroke & Parkinson’s
- Orthopedic conditions that affect an older population like hip fracture, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, joint replacements, various spinal conditions
- Cardiopulmonary and integumentary issues that affect an older population like hypertension, myocardial infarction, COPD, skin cancer, and wound care
This class was the first class we took that was kind of outside of the healthcare realm during PT school. And even though it’s not about physical therapy techniques per se, it is crucially important to both studying and practicing PT. There is so much information and ineffective practice patterns being tossed around throughout our profession, that research can help shed a lot of light and guide our paths as PTs.
We started with some general concepts like different types of research.
We discussed quantitative vs qualitative research, concepts like reliability & validity, correlation & causation, linear regression, p values, various types of experimental designs (with different numbers groups and measurement intervals) etc. Then we did a lot of calculations and stuff with actual numbers.
We actually did learn a lot in this class, and it’s something that will help us refine and interpret our understanding of physical therapy research and evidence based practice, hopefully forever!